Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mackie in Aussie main draw; Altamirano in 25K finals

Mackenzie McDonald, a 22-year-old San Francisco Bay
Area product, will make his Australian Open main-draw
debut on Sunday. File photo by Paul Bauman 
   It was a good day for a pair of Northern California 22-year-olds.   Mackenzie McDonald, who was born and raised in Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, earned his first berth in the main draw of the Australian Open.
   And Collin Altamirano of Sacramento reached the singles final of the $25,000 Long Beach (Calif.) Pro Futures Tournament for the second consecutive year.
   McDonald outlasted 37-year-old Frenchman Stephane Robert 7-6 (5), 6-7 (7), 6-4 today in the final round of qualifying in Melbourne. McDonald, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 145 pounds (66 kilograms), had nine aces and only one double fault.
   McDonald will play qualifier Elias Ymer of Sweden on Sunday. It will be McDonald's second appearance in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. After winning the NCAA singles (and doubles) title as a UCLA junior, he received an automatic wild card in the 2016 U.S. Open and lost in the opening round to Jan Satral of the Czech Republic in five sets.
   Altamirano, who upset second-seeded Marcos Giron in the first round in Long Beach, dispatched third-seeded Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in 59 minutes. In last year's tournament, Altamirano dominated McDonald 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and lost to Giron in the final.
   Altamirano will face qualifier Emilio Gomez of Ecuador. Gomez, a 26-year-old former USC standout and the son of 1990 French Open champion Andres Gomez, eliminated sixth-seeded J.C. Aragone of Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles area 6-4, 6-3.
   Aragone, who played on three NCAA championship teams with Altamirano at Virginia, qualified for last year's U.S. Open and lost in the first round to eventual runner-up Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
   Gomez, ranked No. 508, missed time last year with a shoulder injury. He originally entered the Chandler (Ariz.) Challenger this week, but it was canceled. Gomez had to "beg" the USTA for a wild card into Long Beach qualifying, he told publicist Steve Pratt.
   "And I almost lost in the second round of qualifying, and now I'm in the final," marveled Gomez, referring to his 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 1,429 Laurens Verboven, 20, of Belgium. "This is a crazy sport, for sure."
   Altamirano also advanced to the doubles final as an alternate with Alexander Lebedev, a Notre Dame junior from Island Park, N.Y. They registered a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over second-seeded Ante Pavic of Croatia and Satral.
   Altamirano and Lebedev will face top-seeded Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and Hans Hach of Mexico. They topped third-seeded Deiton Baughman of Carson in the L.A. region and Uchida 7-6 (5), 6-2.

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